Celebrity cook Delia Smith's television series 'How To Cheat At Cooking' has been slammed by dietary experts, who say that the recipes created on the show are overdosed with salt.
According to a study by campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash), Smith makes use of ready-made ingredients, which are high on salt content for the recipes, instead of fresh produce.
Cash claimed that the salt content in a single portion of some of her dishes exceeds the entire daily-recommended salt intake for adults. The adult recommended daily maximum intake of salt is 6g.
They pointed out that her carbonara, using ready-cooked bacon and salty Pecorino Romano cheese, contained more than 7g of salt per serving, while her pea and bacon soup contained almost 6g of salt per portion.
On the other hand, health activists claim that they are in dilemma as far as the use of quick pre- prepared ingredients in dishes is concerned. In fact, they are now advising that high profile chefs and cooks should come forward to promote sensible eating. They also recommend that broadcasters should show nutrition information for every recipe shown on TV.
"Delia Smith is very respected by the public and has great influence over what we cook. It is a real pity that she seems to be unaware of the dangers of eating too much salt, and furthermore it seems as if these latest recipes have not been checked for their salt content," the Scotsman quoted Professor Graham MacGregor, Cash chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the medical school of St George's Hospital in London, as saying.
He added: "She is using processed foods like canned minced beef, which already has salt, then often she adds other ingredients that are very salty, such as capers and olives, then in some recipes she adds even more salt."
However, a spokeswoman for Ebury, the publisher's of Delia's book, which recommends specific products, said that all the ingredients that were chosen had been carefully selected.
On the other hand, Prof MacGregor insisted Delia and her contemporaries were putting thousands at risk of heart attack and stroke, saying: "It is a bit irresponsible in general, not just Delia, because I do not think this is unusual among celebrity chefs - Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay are always adding salt to their food."